Cinco de Mayo has come and gone, but honestly who the eff cares? I’ll devour Mexican food year round and I don’t need a holiday to remind me it’s loco delicious.
Most people wouldn’t associate Mexican food with the term healthy, let alone vegan or gluten-free (at least not Americanized Mexican cuisine). But you’d be surprised by how easy it is to eat healthily (and flavor-fully) with authentic Mexican staples. Shall we count the reasons why?
1. Protein- Packed Beans- Ever wonder why beans are SO filling? Because they are packed with both fiber and protein, which make them more difficult to digest (enter flatulence joke here) but otherwise fabulous for your waistline. They keep you feeling satisfied longer and are high in antioxidants, which is a class of phytochemicals that fight cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Try iron-rich black beans- once you go black you’ll never go back.
2. Heart-Healthy Guac & Salsa– Guac, I put that ish on everything. And I don’t feel bad about it because as I previously mentioned one avocado provides your bod with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, an enormous amount of potassium and “healthy” fat (omega-3, the good kind that prevents against heart disease)and all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. If you haven’t already you really REALLY need to make this recipe. Oh yeah, and don’t forget fiesty salsa with it’s combo of fresh veggies and spices that add very minimal calories but tons of flava flave. Uh huh, get some.
3. Fresh Fibrous Veggies & Fruit– Lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, green chiles, corn, mango, guava, pineapple, avocados, plus superstar citruses like lemon and lime all make regular appearances in Mexican dishes. Most of the time they are served raw and fresh, allowing us to absorb all of their enzymes and essential nutrients.
4. Metabolism Boosting Herbs n’ Spices– Fun fact- you can actually burn additional calories just by incorporating spices into your diet. Those common in Mexican food (think chili powder, cumin, chipotle, cayenne, paprika, cilantro) help to speed your metabolism, burn fat, fight cancer, decrease cholesterol and increase libido (your significant others can thank me later). They’ll also elevate dishes from boring to bomb.com.
5. Naturally GF Corn Tortillas– Thanks to corn being a mainstay in the Mexican diet, there are a ton of gluten-free options. Just by-pass the flour and go straight for the corn tortillas every time. They taste better and do I really need to go into why gluten is bad for you (like it causes gut irritation, inflammation and supports building cancer cells, among many other reasons)?!
Now don’t forget, just because Mexican cuisine typically incorporates these beneficial ingredients doesn’t mean you can pile on the cheese, battered and fried fish and cream sauces. You’ll just negate all the good-for-you-foods you consumed. Let the natural components shine and don’t mask them with ish that ain’t real.
Alright, now I’ll step off my soapbox and get to the good stuff. Like the tacos I recently made. Roasted sweet potato and black bean tacos to be specific. Savory, slightly spicy, filling and flavorful- I made these babies for a Cinco De Mayo/ bridal shower celebration and let’s just say the ladies LOVED ’em. They also contained all FIVE reasons previously listed as to why you should eat Mexican so you can bet they are good for you too! Can you say uno mas taco por favor?
Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
Two sweet potatos, chopped
1 can black beans (no salt added) drained and rinsed
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin, divided
2 tsp chili powder, divided
2 tsp garlic powder, divded
2 tsp sea salt, divided
corn tortillas (look for all natural corn tortillas minus artificial ingredients)
lime and cilantro for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss together sweet potaters, onion, jalapeno, olive oil and 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp sea salt. Roast for approx 45 minutes, flip halfway through. Broil 2 additional minutes.
2. When your veggies are close to being finished toss the beans into a small sauce pan and season with the remaining cumin, chili powder, sea salt and garlic powder. Heat through, 5 minutes.
3. Toast tortillas in a small pan until slightly browned/charred.
4. Toss roasted veggies together with beans and scoop mixture into corn tortillas. Top with fresh lime, cilantro, and the best guac you will ever have. Ever.
MLB didn’t get a chance to try these tacos (I heavily guarded and devoured the leftovers) but I have a feeling he would’ve enjoyed them otherwise.
Now keep calm and have a taco!!!